It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 35 years since Terry Fox ran his forever-inspirational Marathon of Hope.
As usual, millions of people around the globe will hit the ground running this September 20 at official Terry Fox Runs around the world.
The Terry Fox Run, of course, benefits The Terry Fox Foundation.
If you have yet to sign up, we suggest you do so now. Not only are you running to support a cause that’s affected us all, but before you know it, running outdoors will be a distant memory once the snow and ice hits. (Remember, winter is coming.)
So to help inspire you even more, here are 8 things you didn’t know about the Terry Fox Run.
1. More than 300,000 people participated in the first Terry Fox Run in 1981.
The Terry Fox Run was a massive success from the start. From the get-go, Terry’s story inspired thousands, and the first event raised $3.5 million.
2. To date, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $650 million for cancer research via the annual runs.
The Terry Fox Foundation is one of the largest non-governmental funders of cancer research in the country, funding many different types of cancers. Current multi-year studies include lung, ovarian, colorectal, pancreatic, oral, liver, oncolytic viruses, and many more. In fact, the foundation has funded 1,212 cancer research projects to date.
3. The charity is entirely independent.
The Terry Fox foundation is completely its own entity – and that’s how it will always remain. Meaning, it’s not associated with the Canadian Cancer Society or any other national cancer fundraising organization. Similarly, it doesn’t ever have any corporate sponsors – so you’ll never see any corporate branding. This is consistent with Fox’s original wishes of not seeking fame or fortune from his endeavour. During his run, he declined every endorsement he was offered.
4. There are over 9,000 Terry Fox Runs each year.
The Terry Fox Runs have grown to include people all over the world. Every year, millions of people in close to 25 countries participate in The National School Run Day, The Terry Fox Run, and Terry Fox fundraising events. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal (not that we have to tell you that).
5. The length of the Runs vary.
You don’t have to be a seasoned marathon runner to participate in a Terry Fox run. The run itself is informal, meaning that the distance often varies between 5 and – more ambitiously – 15 kilometres. Participation has always been considered to be more important than completing the set distance. So, you have no excuses.
6. There’s no minimum fundraising donation.
One of the best things about committing to the run is that there isn’t a fundraising minimum – something that can be a deterrent to signing up in the first place. So there’s no pressure.
7. To mark the 35th anniversary, the foundation hopes to raise $35 million.
Terry Fox’s legacy will continue to live on years from now, that’s because the foundation continues to grow and set increasingly high goals for itself. To commemorate the 35 anniversary, Terry’s brother has big goals of raising a cool $35 million. No big deal, right?
8. Cuba loves Terry Fox.
Somewhat surprisingly, Cuba is one of the Terry Fox Foundation’s biggest supporters. Terry Fox is hugely popular in Cuba, so much so that the country hosts the largest Terry Fox run outside of Canada. Some two million people participate each year.
9. 150 lives have been saved directly by the foundation.
In an ongoing project, the Terry Fox Foundation has teamed up with health centres in major Canadian cities to screen heavy smokers for early stages of lung cancer using a CT scan and other parameters, as highlighted recently by CBC. In a pilot study to better detect lung cancer, doctors discovered early stage cancers in roughly four out of 100 people screened, resulting 150 lives saved.
You can (and should) find a Terry Fox run near you here.